Project Cottesmore

Project Cottesmore brings together an integrated team with innovative technologies, to provide a whole house, low energy solution to a dwelling type very common in social housing. It provides a quantum jump, in energy terms, beyond the normal [ongoing] work under Decent Homes. Three principles are followed: reduce [demand], provide [efficiently] and control [effectively]. Risk is minimised, and scalability maximised, by using well established providers with leading, but proven, technologies. The Passivhaus PHPP software has been used to guide the energy minimisation strategies.

Solutions are provided to several common problems. This is a pepper-potted, back of pavement terrace [precluding external insulation] with side passage [increasing heat loss and also precluding external insulation] and small internal floor area. Therefore an internal insulation solution was chosen, and the consequent loss of floor space compensated for by adding an attic pod manufactured off-site. The pod provides a second floor bedroom with warm roof, and whole-house ventilation services preinstalled. This is both an innovative solution to replacing floor space lost due to internal insulation, and [by providing an extra bedroom] enables an additional sitting room on the first floor to meet local cultural needs. The internal insulation on a timber frame with minimal cold bridging, and high performance glazing, are to a very high standard, and should ensure very low air permeability.

Use of Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery [MVHR] ensures good air quality with minimal energy use. A condensing gas boiler system with new radiators and pipework was chosen [replacing an inefficient back boiler] after considering various options; Leicester is extending its existing district heating/CHP scheme, so district heating may one day replace the gas boiler. Solar thermal is included as a cost-effective contribution to hot water provision. An innovative adaptive control system [Wattbox] was included, estimated to save around 10% - 15% of heating energy for typical usage. Simple up/down controls define occupants’ preferences and provide a rapid heating response.

Electricity demand is minimised by providing a state of the art, whole-house low energy lighting system, providing A+ or better rated appliances [note normal EMHA practice is for tenants to provide their own, but an exception was made here]. Further savings are made with the innovative ‘V-phase’ voltage control system.

A short implementation period is key to EMHA to minimise costs and disruption to tenants. Thus the work is phased to complete within 3 weeks. It also incorporates any Decent Homes work required. EMHA intend to use the project as temporary decant accommodation for multiple tenant households, providing multiple feedback datasets.